Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Spooky Election Conspiracy?

There hasn't been this big of conspiracy since The Great Pumpkin failed to show for Linus on Halloween night. Barry Ritholz has a Conspiracy Theories entry up at The Big Picture (and realmoney).  Is the stock market going up, and are energy prices going down, because of the 2006 election?  Are the Republicans gaming the system to get their folks elected back to the House and Senate?  Barry cites a few views and of course gives his own.

My take?  (I have one, too).  I think the economy slowed due to the interest rate hikes from the Fed causing folks to spend more on interest rates for mortgages and credit cards.   This left less money in their wallets for doing other things like driving and using energy, causing energy prices to fall and the GDP to slow.  This reaction bolstered investors views that the Fed was done hiking rates and giving more motivation to invest in the stock market.  Also, summer ended and energy demand decreased.

I do believe now that the stock market is predicting a stronger GDP number in the future due to an expanding economy.  This will in turn cause energy demand to increase, as will winter demand. 

Coincidentally, this will all be after next week's elections.

How spooky is that?

Halloween SAT Question

  • Here's your SAT question of the day. If Muckdog anticipates about 70 trick-or-treaters, and has 200 pieces of candy, how many pieces of candy should Muckdog hand out to each kid and what time should he turn off the lights to ensure there are leftover Baby Ruths and Snickers?  Hmm.  Or, should Muckdog just eat the Baby Ruths and Snickers when he gets home?
  • The market?  Uh, I hate to mention that maybe things are starting to look a little shakey.  But lets go to the seasonal stuff and see if it holds up.  We're at the last day of October and 401(k) contributions should be kicking in over the next few days.  Typically, this would mean that there is some buying pressure as money is being put to work.  Of course, typically doesn't seem to be working at the minute but it is something to keep in mind.
  • MySpace to block illegal use of copyrighted music!  That clicking sound you hear is the sound of folks clicking to other websites.  Although, one would have to think that it's just a matter of time before sites are effectively able to enforce copyrights.  We.  Shall.  See.
  • Baidu falls 9% during trading and another 9% afterhours on weak forecast.  Earnings were up, but the forecast is what got folks.  Despite the positive earnings, investors were punishing the company's stock in late trading after Baidu projected fourth-quarter revenue of $34 million to $35 million, while analysts were expecting $36 million.

The Morning Boo!

  • Well the weather is changing here in Sacramento. Seems like it always happens around Halloween time.  We have rain in the forecast.  Light fog in the morning today.
  • Everyone seems to think that this October-November period is a strong one historically in the market.  You have to wonder since the market fooled those of us worred about a seasonal correction in September-October, if she'll fool us once again.  Just thinking out loud.
  • I've had 2 pieces of candy so far today.  Er, 3.
  • My timing is thrown off with the "fall back" of the clock.  Dark on the drive home.  Can't get the yard stuff done anymore during evenings!
  • Interesting that the six-party talks are on again with North Korea.  Looks like Condi did a good job on her recent trip over there.
  • You know, hearing some local TV interviews on the upcoming election and I wonder if last week's Barron's is right about the GOP holding on to Congress.  People seem pretty happy about the economy.  Despite CNN going on and on about this being another Great Depression.  Does anyone watch CNN anymore?  What are they talking about?
  • More candy...

Friday, October 27, 2006


  • Goldman comes out with a report saying that motherboard sales are slowing, and that took the wind out of the sails for the bulls. Of course, they later come out with an Emily Litella "Nevermind" and not to blow it out of proportion because who wants to be the footnote on what marked the end of the bull run of 2006?  It's way too early to know if this anything more than a typical friday after a nice run.  The market needs some light volume days down to reset and regroup.  Give a chance for the dip buyers to come in. 
  • How much of the market rally is due to the stock market pricing in "gridlock" at the federal government?  The markets love it when the government is bickering and not passing any legislation.  Worked well from 1995-2000 anyways.  That's a thought out there.
  • Cody Willard wonders, "It seems like a lot of the conference calls this week are bipolar: You're either seeing the slowdown, or you're still in steady boom mode. Is that endemic in a slightly slowing or hard-crashing economy? (Or is it always like that in any economy anyway, for that matter?) " 
  • Heading into the election, we're hearing incumbants saying that the economy is fine while challengers think we're in the Great Depression all over again.  Folks, it's all just partisan nonsense.  The unemployment rate is 4.6%.  Yes, we're in a slowdown with the GDP clocking at 1.6%, but the stock market seems to be predicting stronger growth ahead.
  • Fried Coke?
  • Snoop Dogg arrested in LA with marijuana and a gun?
  • TGIF!  Lots of football on this weekend.  No weekend picks for a while, but maybe I'll have some up tomorrow.  Although I've done horribly this year so maybe not!

Edit: Anon pointed out in the comments that Emily Litella was the one who said "nevermind," not Rosanne Rosanna Danna. Corrected! But both were outstanding characters played by the late great Gilda Radner!


  • OK, the market... Normally on a friday, we'd move opposite the weekly trend as traders booked profits.  Normally as we approach the end of month, we might see some strength from 401k adds and other month-end stuff that goes on.  But is any of that relevant when the market just goes up everyday?  The market has gone in a straight line up.  No, it won't last forever.  It's much healthier to stair-step higher.  I think higher we go without a pullback, the more dramatic the pullback will be.  And feel.  But for now, forget about all that noise.
  • I love listening to money radio shows.  I haven't listened to Moe Ansari for awhile.  I fogot his funnyisms.  Paraphrasing one, "If your broker tells you an island bottom is something you'd see on a beach in Jamaica, it's time to get a new broker."
  • I uses Replay AV to record shows off the radio, and listen to them later while driving, walking, cycling, or on those sleepless nights.  I also use iPodder to subscribe to various feeds.  Very cool.  Replay AV also is good for recording videos, btw.
  • President Bush uses The Google to look at maps.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Random Thoughts

Fossil fuel?

  • Earnings from MSFT and CHP.  Microsoft says they've sold 6 million XBOX 360s!  I don't own one, btw.  Chesapeake reported profit that soared on higher production and revenues, coupled with gains from hedging programs.  Hedging programs?  Interesting the way companies try to protect themselves from rising or falling energy prices.  I wonder why the airlines don't try some of that? Maybe they are.  Dunno.
  • President Bush approves 700 miles of fence along the border with Mexico.  What do you think this fence is going to look like?  Here's a visual:  Baby gates along the border.  About 3 feet high.  Durable plastic.  Hard to open in the middle.
  • The debate over stem cells is raging again, as Michael J Fox stirs some controversy with his recent pro-research ad.  Of course, folks like Rush Limbaugh love to make headlines going against "the liberal press."  Lost in the controversy is the reality that folks are actually suffering from chronic diseases.
  • I loved the Back to the Future trilogy, btw.  And remember, Michael J. Fox played teenage Neo-con Alex P. Keaton in the show Family Ties.
  • Exercise prevents coldsAlcohol prevents heart attacks!  Where is the study on what strip clubs prevent? 

Market Thoughts

  • When the market is in a strong trend, none of the trading range tricks work at all. I was thinking about this as we approach the end of the month and how it normally would be positive as the 401k contributions hit and others jigger their month-end holdings.  Right now, everything is positive because investors want to buy stocks.  Whether they're feeling left behind, underinvested, and/or trying to catch up for leaning the wrong way, the mojo is on the buy side right now.  Forget about channeling stocks, Mister.  It's a one-way street right now.  Up up and away.
  • I've noticed "market fever" returning to water cooler chatter.  Folks seem to be taking an interest in trading again.  One guy I talked with today said he just started trading options a few weeks ago and he's making a killing!  Of course, he's playing calls only.  I know how the story will end, but I didn't tell him.  He wouldn't listen to me anyways.  Some lessons just have to be experienced first hand.  You can't pay somebody else to go to school
  • I remain in lower beta holdings with some cash on the sidelines, and still trading in and around some names as I work on my short-term system.  Of course, it's working right now because everything seems to be going up.  A monkey with darts could fling 'em at a listing of stocks and come up with nothing but winners right now!
  • MSFT came out afterhours with so-so numbers, but not being sold off much.  I was wondering if it would be a market mover because of its weighting in the index.  We'll see how it goes after folks have had a night to think about it!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Face Off!

  • Face off! UK to perform first face transplant!
  • Fed announcement due in 30 minutes or so.  I'm expecting something hawkish in their comments.  I dunno.  We'll see. I think the stock market is anticipating a stronger economy after the 3rd quarter slowdown.  If so, then we'll see oils moving higher as energy demand increases.  This usually creates "the fear" of inflation.  The Fed may not notice until later, as they seem mostly reactive rather than proactive. IMHO!
  • You know the NBA starts next week, right?  Holy smokes.
  • Anti-smoking message to appear on some DVDs.  "We now return you to your movie, 200 Cigarettes."
  • Toddler gets stuck in a vending machine!  The sad thing to this story is at the end.  What?  He didn't get to keep the Sponge Bob?  Cruel frakking world!
  • Oh, I'm still working on my short-term timing system.  Looks promising, and trading it a little... 
  • Dancing with the Stars wins ratings again.  I think guys are watching this thing, too. I haven't been much this year, yet.  But maybe last year it was Jerry Rice sucking in viewers.  This year, Emmirt Smith is quick-stepping.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Market Thoughts

  • Just so we understand each other, Amazon (AMZN) reported that profits fell 37%, but the stock is rallying because sales increased 24%. AMZN also narrowed their forecast for the year.  The stock is up 14% afterhours.  More on AMZN at CBSMarketwatch
  • Bull markets.  Gotta love 'em.  Buy the good news.  Buy the bad news.  Buy the lack of news.  Buy.  Buy.  Buy.  I remain long in lower beta holdings, and out of tech and semiland.  Although, I am still short-term trading a few stocks here and there daily but trying to keep some cash on the sidelines.  Been here before.  Corrections will come.  Sideways trading markets will return.   Someday. 
  • Look how icky semis look, though.  One thought out there is that semis lead tech, and tech lead the market.  Sure, the DOW is currently leading but how long does that ever last?
  • The Black Box still says "caution" regarding the market.  Yes, it had sell signals on tech and semis back in September.  The Black Box is an intermediate term set of indicators that may give 2-3 market signals a year.  I've also been working on some shorter-term trading models, but that's a "work in progress" currently.
  • Will a ban on online gambling be effective?  I think it'll slow it down.  Check out what happened to the stocks of those online companies who rely heavily on the US gambler!  YOWCH!
  • Heroes is a great show.  Totally hooked.  Every episode is a cliffhanger, so it is a bit frustrating.  No spoiler for you DVR folks.  Good one, though.

A House Flipper Gone Bad!

So, what's wrong with flippers?

  • Have you been following the story of Casey Serin?  Who?  He's a 24-yr old man in Sacramento who is a poster child for everything that went wrong in the real estate boom. House flipping gone awry!  Casey also has a blog at I Am Facing Foreclosure, where the comment logs are active with encouragement, support, and plenty of expletive-laced name calling! 
  • Outstanding "Question of the Day" goes to Barry Ritholz in his blog entry The Return of CNBC.com.  Why in the world did they stop using their own URL and hitch up with MSN?  Barry notes "CNBC was buried in an MSN Money ghetto, not even ranking as a top line tab, but instead existing as a subtab under "Investing."
  • Some blog aggregators sort on "the" while others ignore the "the" and sort on the word following the "the."  So you know.
  • The Shark Report notices good technical set-up in OIH.  Yeah, agreed.  And as Dave notes, metals, too.  My thought here is that the economy is heating up again after slowing down in the 3rd quarter.  It won't be long before we start hearing folks worrying about increasing energy demand and "the fear" of the threat of inflation.  (Whether it actually exists or not is another question.)

The Freakies!

  • It's that time again! The Fed Freakies are climbing down out of their Freakies tree and gathering to make the decision on interest rates.  Of course, nobody is expecting them to raise or lower rates, but all focus will be on the commentary going forward.  Will they be hawkish?  Will they be dovish?  Will they just confuse everyone and leave it open to interpretation?  STAY TUNED!
  • Loretta Nall, the Libertarian Party's write-in candidate for governor of Alabama, is campaigning on her cleavage and hoping that voters will eventually focus on her platform.   Finaly, a campaign plank that appeals to me!  "Loretta, where do you stand on illegal immigration?"  "Check out my boobs!"
  • Oh.  My.  Goodness.  See this pic of Miley Cyrus with sumo wrestler Manny Yarbrough? 
  • Gearing up for some 2006 election controversy?  You know there will be some somewhere.
  • Game 3 tonight!
  • Amazon up 11% afterhours as I type.  I guess folks like their earnings, eh?

Monday, October 23, 2006

Google vs My Utility Company

  • So Adam is talking about Google and Jim Cramer's comments about the GOOG. I added in the comments that the company makes billions of dollars giving away FREE stuff.  Free blog.  Free search. Free videos.  News.  Sports.  Etc.  F-R-double-E.  Now why can't my utility company try this business model?  Instead of charging for kilowatts and therms, how about just including some ads in the monthly statement and we call it even? 
  • About 11:45 I was going to sneak out to lunch, and then somebody launched a sneak attack and scheduled an immediate meeting!  So this lasted until 12:45, and then I had a 2 hour meeting from 1:00-3:00.   ARGH! 
  • Want to slow memory loss?  Eat your veggies!
  • What do Erin Burnett and the Bare Naked Ladies have in common?  Nothing I can think of.  Jessica Simpson and the same band?  Me neither.  Dunno.
  • If computers ran the NBA, Shaq would be benched!
  • Two drinks a day help men avoid heart attacks!  "Our results suggest that moderate drinking could be viewed as a complement, rather than an alternative," to lifestyle interventions such as regular physical activity, weight loss and quitting smoking, said the study from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.  Darn, I was hoping for "alternative."  Anyways, I guess I'll be having a few drinks and heading out on the bike tonight!  (Just kidding, Eric Musselman.)

Friggin' Monday!

  • Check the frog's hand for a clump of dirt!
  • The market again charges out of the gate, despite predictions of folks waiting for the Fed announcement and comments this week. We're in an era where it doesn't matter what is in the headlines.  Folks feel that they are underinvested and they want to buy stocks.  When demand is in overdrive, nothing will stop the market going up until the demand is over.  The higher the market goes without consolidating, the worse the pullback/correction will be.  Eventually.  But... from what level?
  • Another week with no pigskin picks?  I know, I forgot about it entirely!  To compound matters, I picked up Matt Leinart for my fantasy team.  Cough.  Gag.  That didn't help!  But, it wouldn't have helped me anyways. 
  • I don't know what was on Kenny Rogers hand, but I doubt it was a clump of dirt.
  • Does anyone believe North Korea?  My fear is that any deal they make will be broken on their side.  We know what they did after their 1993 agreement.  They broke it.  Isn't there some "shame on me, shame on you" thing in play here?
  • I think the Miami Dolphins are the worst team in football.  After signing two QBs in the off-season in Culpepper and Harrington, will they draft a QB in 2007?  Ainge?  Quinn?  Because the two guys they have now are hapless.  Might as well suit me up and put me in the shotgun.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Glued to the Tube

  • After an early morning flush, the market quickly rebounded and flatlined for the rest of the day. Fridays tend to be a little lackluster during options week, as most of the positioning seems to happen in the days before.  Next week?  The week after options tends to be a  little weak, especially after a strong run.  The Fed is meeting next week and tons of earnings come out.
  • Heartbreak for the Mets.  I thought it was going to be heartbreak city for the Cards after Chavez grabbed the ball over the fence for a very long out.  And then when the Cardinals got the 2-run dinger to have the lead, the Mets got the first 2 on base.  Perfect set-up.  But you know what?  94-mph fastballs make a great set-up for a 73-mph breaking ball, too.  Mets hitters were paralyzed.
  • I haven't been watching Dancing with the Stars lately.  It's one of those shows that I have on in the background while doing something else.  But I've just forgotten about it altogether!
  • Yes, GOOG was on fire because revenues are going to the moon!  YouTube purges 30,000 copyrighted files.  Watch this, because now that YouTube has deep pockets (via Google), will the copyright owners start going after Google's money?  Just thinking.
  • I added bluetooth to my PC last night.  Geez.  Plug and play adapter in the USB slot.  And a cool little blue light!
  • I was planning on watching America Ferrara in Ugly Betty, but never got around to it.  Is it any good?  Rave reviews and all.  If it lasts the season, I'll catch up during the summer rerun season.   Or via Netflix.
  • My Treo acting funky lately.  So, I finaly figured out why.  The SD cards I was using were a bit old, and the read/write speed is pathetic.  I popped in one of my newer cards and suddenly the Treo was a happy camper.
  • Country singer Keith Urban checks into rehab.
  • We'll have to watch oil and gold.  I think the US economy is picking up again after a slow 3rd quarter.  I expect energy usage to increase and folks to start "fearing" inflation again.  Should be good for energy and gold.  At least for a while.
  • NFL. World Series. New TV shows. Lots of TV watching in the weeks ahead. And 24 doesn't even start until January!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The 2006 Elections

  • The 2006 elections won't have much effect on the market. Actually, the market may prefer gridlock should the Democrats recapture the House.  The market wouldn't like tax hikes.  Bush's tax cuts are set to expire later in the decade unless extended.  I doubt the Democrats would extend the cuts.  But that's still a ways away.  In the meantime, if Speaker Pelosi introduces new taxes, I'm sure President Bush would use the veto pen through 2008.
  • After that, we may have President Rudy Giuliani according to the Marist Poll.
  • Google is on fire afterhours after reporting earnings.  GOOG.  Revenues in the third-quarter nearly double!  Somebody must be clicking on those advertistments on the search page.  'Fess up.  Who is it?  If you click on Google ads, please comment in the comment log.  I'm still suspicious about automated web-bots that click-click-click on ads. 
  • Despite weakness in semiconductors, the market closed up and the DOW finaly crossed and held 12,000.  Get out the DOW 13,000 party hats now, I 'spose.  Will there be a running ticker across CNBC that says "989 points away from DOW 13,000?"
  • I'm a Tyra Banks fan.  I do like the show America's Next Top Model.  And it's not for gawking at skinny supermodel wannabes.  It's a funny show.
  • I don't mean to sound negative or bearish on the market, because I'm not. I am still long the market.  My strategy has been to get aggressive after sell offs and to get conservative after market runs.  I do this by raising beta on weakness and lowering beta (and raising cash) on strength.  It's worked really well, but it can test the patience.   And maybe the market is pricing in government gridlock which worked so well from 1995-2000.  If the federal government is busy investigating each other and too busy to bother with any issues or legislation, then that's usually a good thing as far as the markets are concerned.

Those 4th Quarter Bears

Nobody fears the Bears. Just ask Dennis Green. But better watch out for the 4th quarter.

Say, aren't we in the 4th quarter?  Is Brian Urlacher about to step in and rip the ball away from the Bulls?  If there was a stock representation of Urlacher, maybe it would be Intel (INTC) and the semiconductors.  Intel had an underwhelming report this week, and more alarmingly was their reduction in cap-ex spending.  The question is that if tech is slowing down and potentially rolling over, can the stock market continue to advance?

I have no qualms with my lower beta holdings with some cash on the sidelines.  I've halted my flips for now.  We're in options week, and I would imagine things calm down tomorrow.   But the week after options tends to be a little weak, so we'll have to see if the strugglin' Semiconductors lead the market lower or can nail a long field goal at the bell to beat back the Bears.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

DOW 12,000 Sugar High

  • The market raced out of the gate high on sugarand made it over 12,000.   Erin Burnett broke out her DOW 12,000 paper hat that ironically fell to the floor as she began talking.  Ironically?  Not long after the market reversed and is now under 12,000 as I type!  Market technicians, aka Bob Pisani's friends, may call this day a "key reversal day" if we close down for the day.  We'll have to wait and see.  Darn sugar highs can wear off quickly!
  • Save the cheerleader.  Save the world.  (from Heroes)
  • The semiconductors are taking a beating today as Intel (INTC) announced that they're cutting cap-ex spending.  Can the market continue to move up on bulldozers, cigarettes, and domestic cars?  (CAT, MO, and GM).
  • I cancelled my Wall Street Journal online subscription.  I read 1 article a week at most.  $99 a year for THAT?  I did sign up for Barrons, though.  $59 a year teaser rate.   That's $40 a year savings that I can spend on lap dances instead.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Fun Factory Tuesday

  • Today was a really busy day as I had to roll up the sleeves and figure out a solution for a production issue then implement it before support staff go home. Very hectic.  But it's 4:55 and all is well!  Atta boys all around.
  • The market?  I think the comeback as the day went along was quite impressive.  I remain in lower beta holdings with some cash on the sidelines.  And flipping some names here and there when I have the chance.  If the market is pricing in anticipated growth in the economy, then I think we'll see demand for energy increase worldwide.  Watch oil.
  • Also, the inflation number came out higher at the core rate.  Well of course!  On TV, the bubblonians were blaming the cost of oil being passed along.  WRONG.  That's so $3 gasoline.  Gasoline prices have fallen, and folks have more money to spend at Starbucks, Cheesecake Factory, and McDonalds.  Plus wages are up, too.  People aren't keeping cash in their mattresses when pumpkin cheesecake is going for $7.95 a slice!
  • Oh, amazing football game last night as the Bears decided that defense is the best offense.  The bears trailing by a bunch and turning the ball over 6 times, used two defensive touchdowns and a punt return for a touchdown to win 24-23.  Rackers missed a 40yd field goal at the end of the game that would've won for the Cardinals.
  • Yahoo up afterhours?  And Jimmy said yesterday that it was "a $12 stock masquerading as a $24 stock?"  Maybe the bad news is priced in.  Maybe not.  I don't own it.  But it is my homepage.
  • Hey, whatever happened to Lenny Dykstra?
  • I better fly if I'm going to make it home for the game tonight.  Go Mets.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Mad Money Machine!

  • Mad Money Machine sings "Stock Pickin Blues," which pokes a little fun at Jim Cramer and some of his stock pick. "Trying to do it Jimmy Cramer's way..."  From the podafe music network at music.podshow.com.
  • So by the way, we're 19.4 points away from 12,000 on the DOW.  Don't you dare take off the DOW 12,000 party hat until we get there.
  • Caffeine abuse among the young?  I know the Starbucks are packed with kids, but had no idea they were popping caffeine pills, too.
  • Steve Lyons was fired for ethnically inappropriate comments on the air during the Detroit Tigers-Oakland A's championship game Friday.  Here is the exchange:

Lyons ran afoul of Fox Sports for comments he made during the game after analyst and former manager Lou Piniella said expecting a player to repeat his performance was like "finding a wallet on a Friday night and looking for one on Sunday and Monday, too."

A little while later, Piniella said Oakland A's infielder Marco Scutaro was "en fuego," to which Lyons responded: "Lou's hablaing some espanol there, and I'm still looking for my wallet. I don't understand him, and I don't want to sit close to him now."


Muckdog Podcast

I did a video blog last week (and have another one almost ready to go). But this week I thought I'd try a podcast. Just for fun.

Topic: Bank of America offers free trades!

Click here to get your own player.

In case the player struggles to open the file, other links:

The Learning Curve 10/17/2006 (MP3 File)

(Yes, I know it's the 16th. Forgive me!)

Thanks to Pod-o-matic for the free podcast hosting services.

Thanks to music.podshow.com for Podsafe music!

Here is my Podcast RSS Feed. This can be added to iPodder, iTunes, or whatever else folks use to grab their favorite podcasts.

Another Day, Another Rally

  • The market continues the rally. Normally, I'd suggest that when the week before options week was positive then options week tends to be weak.  But we can throw out the monthly seasonality tricks for now.  The market is in uptrend mode and nothing is going to stop it until it does.  Instead of fighting the tape, I've been quick to book gains and have turned to quick-flips of individual stocks to try and catch the speculative euphoria. This will end at some point and cash will be King when that happens.  But as I mentioned below, resistance is futile right now.  You don't want to pick a fight with this bull run.
  • Wallstrip launches.  Video clips on the market.  Today... Apple!  Short enough clip not to lose the short attention span folks like myself.  Take a watch, subscribe to the RSS feed, and drop a comment there to let them know what you think.
  • Didn't do football picks for the games yesterday.  I ended up hanging out at a buddy's sucking down beers.  Just some comments...  Saints might be for real, but their defense is a q-mark.  Dolphins offense?  They miss Ricky Williams.  He was the reason for their winning streak last year.  Isn't it great to see Chad Pennington playing well?  What happened to the Bengals offense?  Good wideouts make the Seattle offense pretty potent.  Especially when Alexander comes back.
  • Here in NorCal we're stuck watching the Raiders and Niners games every weekend.  I'm going to have to get DirecTV because THIS IS RIDICULOUS!  My only hope is that the home games don't sell out and the games can't be shown in the home television market. 
  • A friend went to the 49ers game yesterday and said fans were leaving in droves at halftime.
  • TV...  I caught up with Heroes.   Good show!  I watched a couple of episodes of Studio 60, and it reminded me of West Wing.  Lots of walking around with the cameras and fast dialogue.  So far, watchable.  Battlestar Galactica was great.  Watched some episodes of Class (3rd grade reunion show), and I don't think that one will last long.   I still have lots of series recorded that I haven't watched yet.
  • Oh, baseball... Mets looked good tying it up last night.  I had Cards pitcher Reyes on my fantasy squad this summer, so I could've told you he'd give up some runs.  I think the Cards pitching will win out this series, but I'm pulling for the Mets.  No reason why.  I'd pull for either the Mets or Cards over the Tigers, FWIW.  But the Tigers look like the team of destiny.

Friday, October 13, 2006

The Collective

  • OIH is getting close to hitting the 50dma which could act as resistance. Just saying.  Maybe resistance is futile at this point.  Willl any stocks ever go down again?  Or are they all being assimilated into the collective?
  • My coworkers here at the Fun Factory have been assimilated into the collective.  They're talking their books again today.  This stock is up 5%.  That stock is up 4%.  On and on.  Feel like I just went through this, but I guess it has been 7 years.  And some of these folks weren't around the last ti
  • Erin Burnett had her DOW 12,000 paper hat on this morning.  I wonder how long one has to be in the collective to get the hat? 
  • Gone are the days where Sponge Bob Pisani would throw out tidbits from his conversations with his technical analsys friends about upcoming dangers in the market.  There is no fear in the collective.  It's all about assimilation.  Resistance is futile.
  • Former Fed Freakie Numero Uno Alan Greenspan has been assimilated, too.  He said this week that "housing market worst may be over."
  • Has anyone in the collective created a DOW 12,000 countdown ticker I can install on my toolbar?
  • England has been assimilated.  The FTSE is at 5 1/2 year highs.
  • As Adam noticed, we don't need to use well-known fractions in the collective.  Lets use 16ths or 18ths when measuring new market highs.  The SP500 is at 5 23/27ths year new highs!  Something like that.  Not only would it increase our celebration of market highs, but it might also teach some folks about fractions.  Hello two birds.
  • Finaly, I think I've been assimilated as well.  The first clue?  Well, besides the robotic arm and eye implants, I've increased my flip-flopping of small stock names that I never heard of before because of "good chart set ups."  I normally don't do this kind of thing very much.  But life is different in the collective.  Mo-Mo speculation is increasing.  The lid is off the cookie jar.  Idle cash is futile.
  • What ever happened to the rule of thumb about "fridays tend to move the opposite of the weekly trend, as traders book profits ahead of the weekend?"  Pure nonsense in the collective.  Profits only get bigger as more and more folks are assimilated.
  • I know this sounds crazy, but I'm booking some more gains today.  More pre-collective nonsense about "nobody ever went broke booking a profit."

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Random Thoughts

  • Wanted to add some anecdotal market stuff. Folks around the Fun Factory office are talking about stocks.  HUH?  It's been a long time.  For a while, it was all real estate but I haven't heard anyone mention that lately.  Now it's stocks and how well their portfolios are doing lately.
  • Fed finds "widespread cooling" in housing market.  Uh, hello?  Did they just realize this?  If anything ever tells you that the fed is "reactive" and not "proactive," this is it.  The Fed said that reports from around the country "indicated widespread cooling" in housing markets with financial institutions finding that mortgage lending activity had tapered off.  I wonder if the Fed got the report yet on the 2005-6 NFL season?  Steelers won, folks.
  • Who singer Roger Daltrey to be on CSI.  You know, I haven't watched that show for quite awhile.  I wonder if this is a jump the shark moment for the show...
  • Fly on Wall Street:    Everyone I know is shocked by the extent of this rally. All of the dumbest people I know are making the most money, while the "intellectual" types are getting blown-the-fuck-up.  All of the guys who are trying to outsmart the market are feeling some serious pain now, short U.S. equities; while, Joey Bag-o-Donuts is bankrolling and buying a new Benz. How you doin'?
  • "Lost" started out a little slow last week, but picked it up last night.  Hooked all over again!  Oh, and rock'n roll is booted off on America's Next Top Model.  I don't have a favorite yet.  Maybe Anchal.
  • Fantasy football thoughts?  Check out what Dubz is thinking.
  • How's this for punishment for North Korea from Larry KudlowIf China can go capitalist, and if Russia can go capitalist, and if Eastern Europe and India can go capitalist (heck, if Rhode Island can go capitalist—illustrated by their new flat tax reform plan) then you have just got to believe there’s a way to spur North Korea toward capitalism too.   I know, I know, it’s an absurd idea. But so were China, Russia and Rhode Island.
  • Did you read about Tara Reid's botched boob job?
  • Steve from Investorgeeks on Mathew Emmert: Fool of CrapAt Motley Fool, bad information and skewed research are the topic of the day.  Steve takes on the notion that dividend paying stocks beat the market.

Black Box Thoughts

The Black Box continues to see negative divergences in semis and tech as we make new highs. In addition, it's questioning the total market as we continue higher as well.  I made sales on Sept 14th and Sept 20th in semiconductor and tech names, and went into lower beta holdings and cash.  How is this decision holding up?  After all, it seems as if the market is racing to all new highs every single minute.  It would seem rather foolish of me to heed the Black Box back in September.  Using SMH and QQQQ as a proxy for higher beta semiconductors and tech, and DVY for a  lower beta holding (.89 beta), lets take a look.

Sept 14th. Closing prices

    • QQQQ:  39.99
    • SMH:  34.41
    • DVY:  66.48

Sept 20th Closing prices

    • QQQQ:  40.43
    • SMH:  34.32
    • DVY:  66.95

Current prices:

    • QQQQ:  41.76
    • SMH:  34.67
    • DVY:  67.51

Analysis?  The QQQQ is up 1.04% and 1.03% from my sell date (respectively).  The SMH is up 1% and 1.01% from my sell date (respectively).  The DVY is up 1.01% and 1% from my buy date (respectively).  And cash is up (assuming a 5% rate/yr for a month), .41%.   All just rough numbers, but good enough for analysis.

I'm slightly underperforming my previous high-beta portfolio, but by taking much less risk.  In addition, I continue to maintain a core position in the total market index.  I have also nibbled and traded a little along the way in various things, but I don't mention those specifically here.  I also have some cash on the sidelines to deploy sometime into something, once some of the frothiness evaporates. 

Despite the feeling of "missing out" by having some cash on the sidelines, turns out the Black Box is doing the job and the key in the weeks ahead will be patience.  Slow and steady.  Be the turtle.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Hectic Quick Hits!

  • Today has been so hectic at the Fun Factory. I don't even know where to begin except to end it with... It's all over now.  Phew.  For you software developers out there, today was "The Day After" implementation day.  So you know what I'm talking about.  Good grief.
  • I did briefly look at the market around lunch time, around the time that the Fed notes and plane crash happened.  My prayers go out to family and friends.
  • What are those Fed members smoking?  They come out hawkish on inflation when it's mild and they've already tightened TOO MUCH as it is.  The economy is already slowing.  The only conclusion I can make is that they want to create a recession.  So far, I'm up to three "boneheads" on the Fed.  Janet Yellen, Richard Fisher, and Jeffrey Lacker.  "The Federal Reserve must resume tightening interest rates if core consumer inflation persists at its current level, said Jeffrey Lacker."  Yes, that is the same Lacker that dissented on the two recent Fed decisions to hold rates steady.
  • Lacker also said I don't think a catastrophic collapse in housing activity is likely."  Not even if you jack up those rates higher, Jeff?  Well, he did say "activity."  As long as that definition includes "foreclosures," I suppose we could see lots of housing "activity."
  • Bush calls for "serious repercussions" on North Korea.  ... but said the United States remained committed to diplomacy and had no intention of attacking.  So, call them a bunch of dirty names laced with four-letter words?  That'll show 'em.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Quick Hits

  • The DOW closed at another new high in case you were wondering. Of course it did.  Why would it do anything else?  I like this skeptical quote from Yahoo FinanceEven though the Dow closed at a new all-time high, there was little conviction on the part of buyers Tuesday as the major averages struggled to stay in the green going into the close.  Not exactly wildly bullish comments.  I'd expect something more frothy, but maybe this reflects the wall of worry and disbelief by those who are not participating in the rally.
  • So most in the world believe that North Korea should be "punished" for testing a nuke.  BUT WHAT?  Military action has been ruled out by the UN main members.  Millions of people are starving in North Korea, so economic sanctions would further punish the people.  Tony Blair said, "The other tragedy about North Korea is what is happening to the people there," he said. "The people live in virtual starvation, almost a form of political oppression that's akin to slavery. And meanwhile they spend billions of dollars on a nuclear weapons program."
  • Cola consumption linked to weaker bones in women...women who consumed cola daily had lower bone mineral density (BMD) in their hips than those who drank less than one serving of cola a month.  Didn't seem to affect men.  And yes, there is a "stronger bones in men" one-liner in here somewhere, if someone wants to put in the effort.
  • Jason on the The Bull at 4 discussing the 4 year anniversary of the bull market.  Good job!
  • Sacramento home flippers in trouble!  A blog about homes currently on the market for sale priced less than the previous sale.
  • Meanwhile, on the other side of the globe, lets not forget about sanctions for Iran.  Pesky Empire of Evil countries...
  • I continue to try to learn more about trading small caps.  Not quite there.  I like my Black Box for big caps and ETFs.  Seems to work well enough.  Totally tragic with the small caps and I think the reason is volatility and thin trading on some names.  So working on that in between cartoon animations.
  • Is it the fund manager or the fund company?  Read Hulbert.  Of course, I'd argue that fund size may be critical, too.  Large funds may have a tough time trying to beat the index because they have so much money invested in them.

On Trading Blogs...

  • You better light a candle when standing next to Teresa Lo (TLo) while she's reading trading blogs.

"...it really gives me gas to think about all the money that is being lost by people that act on bad advice, I mean, “opinion”. Even if the intentions of certain bloggers are good, it is inevitable that money is lost, simply because they are often wrong."

Seems like TLo's blog entry ripping trading blogs is making the blog rounds.  Also, see TLo's previous blog entry on this topic.  Of course, you know Adam and Roger are talking about this. 

  • My take on all the trading blogs out there?  I consider them "infotainment."  I read them as I would read a journal of a person's experiences in investing.  Both good and bad.  If I can learn something along the way, that's a bonus.  I do shy away from the blogs that list "stocks of the day" and tout individual names. I simply do not care, and that's not my style.  However, if I can read Adam's blog and learn more about volatility, Roger's blog on his approach to portfolio management, or Barry's blog on the big picture, then I might accidentally learn something while surfing the web.  And that's a good thing, Martha.
  • My Bloglines subscriptions runs into the hundreds!

The Smell of Enthusiasm in the Morning!

  • Feel it yet? I'm talking about market enthusiasm and excitement about making money when the bull is charging.  The market has been in quite an uptrend since the summer lows, and I don't know about you but I'm feeling caught up in it.  It's so tempting to start throwing money at stuff that seems to be making new highs every second.  When the market is running it is so enticing.   Of course, in Adam's Random Thoughts yesterday he linked to his interview at Stocktickr where he said "you make money by NOT losing money."  I don't feel bad booking profits a few weeks ago, much like I did in April prior to the summer correction.  I feel a pullback is coming.  But I'm sure seeing lots of stock scans that are grabbing at least my emotions.
  • Democrats have a huge lead in the polls following the GOP IM scandal.  Of course, that's last week's news.  Gerrymandering will figure big in the election of House races.  I think a return to gridlock would be good for the economy, as the House and Senate would just cancel each other out.
  • Mark Cuban still thinks Google is crazy for buying YouTube.  Or as Cuban calls it, GooTube.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Power Lunch

  • There was a question heading into the weekend about North Korean and their threatening to test a nuke. Would the market sell-off?  The North Koreans tested their nuke, and the market is up as I type.  Nobody seems to care.  Perhaps anything done by the Axis of Evil is priced into the markets.  Now oil is up a bit, but that's probably more due to OPEC talking about production cuts.  Of course, this is good for some of my oil buys from last week.  Not so good when I stop by the pump in the coming weeks...
  • I love The Amazing Race.
  • I now watch TV exclusively by DVR.  I just can't stand watching commercials.
  • 247 jalepenos in 8 minutes.  Down the page a bit in that story, is Christopher Huang, of Arlington, entered the competition even though he doesn't normally eat spicy foods.  The 26-year-old required several minutes of recovery time after eating 53 jalapenos.  "I cant feel my face," he said when he was able to speak again.
  • And that's your Power Lunch of the day.   247 jalepenos and some milk.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Muckdog Video

It's a VIDEO BLOG revolution! I had some fun making this, and that's the most important thing...


Abby's prediction on CNBC.

My comments on Abby in 2000.

Podsafe music from music.podshow.com.

Friday, October 06, 2006

More Market Thoughts (and Stuff)

  • I haven't blogged as much this week. Just been swamped and in meetings.  I have made a few trades here and there in the oil sector, but nothing major.  I normally stick with ETFs and big caps, but have added some smaller names. Still have some cash from my September sales here and here.  The sale on the semiconductor stuff has worked out, but not so much the other tech.  I feel much the same way as I felt in April when I made some sells before summer.  It was a bit early, but turned out to work out well for me.  Even though I had the second thoughts.
  • It's too early for New Year's resolutions, but I never make those anyways.  One of my goals is to learn how to better trade smaller cap stocks. I'm comfortable with my approach on the big caps and indexes.  But that approach doesn't work on specific small stocks.  Heading down the learning curve there. 
  • Will Google buy YouTube?  Should they?  Google has a video service, and the barrier of entry for these kinds of services is fairly low.  Who heard of YouTube or MySpace a few years ago?  Google would get instant eyeballs on click-ads, which I still don't understand that revenue model.
  • NBC's show Heroes picked up for a season.  I like that one.
  • Since the Dodgers won the World Series in 1988, they are 1-11 in the post-season.  I suppose we should be wondering who is the sorry, pathetic, sad excuse for a team that gave them the one victory?
  • By the way, I love YouTube.  I think it's great.
  • Battlestar Galactica tonight!  WOOT!

Pigskin Picks!

  • Football picks for week 5!
  • Bears -10: Home against Buffalo.  Bears D will shut 'em down. Final: Bears 40-7. Bills got a late TD to mess my fantasy shutout! Winner!
  • Panthers -8.5:  They're home against Cleveland.  I think the Panthers are improving and Cleveland isn't playing the Raiders this week! Final: Panthers 20-12. Loser by the hook!
  • Vikings -6.5:  Home playing the Lions, and I like Brad Johnson and Chester Taylor gets untracked this week. Vikes 26-17. Winner!
  • Patriots -9.5:  Home against Miami.  Miami can't score.  New England can. Final: Patriots 20-10. Harrington stars, same results for Miami. Winner!
  • Rams -3.  On the road in Green Bay, but Rams offense gets untracked against a bad Packers team. Final: Rams 23-20. Push!
  • Saints -6.5:  Home against Tampa Bay, and the Bucs are another team with scoring problems while the Saints offense can roll. Final: Saints 24-21. Loser!
  • Colts -18.5:  Home against the Titans.  I've never taken a pro spread this big, so I just want to try it. Final: Colts 14-13. Hoo, close! Loser!
  • Redskins +4.5:  Traveling to play the Giants.  I think the Redskins offense will click again. Final: Giants 19-3. Great game by the Giants Defense. Loser!
  • Cardinals +3:  At home playing the Chiefs.  Huard won't have another game like last week.
  • Jets +7:  Jets going to Jacksonville.  I think this is a high-scoring game, so I'll take 7.
  • Raiders +3.5:  At San Francisco.  I'd take the points no matter who was favored in this horrible match-up.  On the West coast, we normally have to watch both the 49ers and the Raiders, so the best thing about this game is that it frees up a TV slot for a better game.
  • Dallas +2:  On the road in Philadelphia.  Dallas is better than Green Bay and the Eagles may be getting some hype from last monday night.
  • Pittsburgh +3:  Traveling to San Diego where the Steelers will unload some early season frustrations and make Rivers beat them in the air.  He won't.
  • Ravens +4:  At Denver, but the Ravens are clicking.

Market Thoughts

  • Well, fridays tend to be profit taking days. Since the market has been in rally mode there are plenty of reasons to book some gains.  Profits are profits.  Also, we're now out of the first few trading days of the month, which tend to be strong due to monthly contributions to retirement portfolios.  Next on deck, earnings season!
  • The jobs report was light today, showing only 51K adds falling short of the 123K estimate.  The economy is definitely slowing as the Fed rate hikes have taken effect.  Why any Fed members are continuing to talk about inflation and the need to raise rates is beyond me.  One Fed member voted for rate hikes at the last meeting!  In addition, Fisher and Yellen are out there talking nonsense.
  • Personally, I think the market is due for a pullback. But I thought so when I move some cash to the sidelines.  The Black Box continues to give sell signals on semis and tech.  Is it crying wolf?  There has been no Sept-Oct seasonal swoon this year.  So who has the next playbook?
  • I'll keep this one to market thoughts and add more later, including this week's Pigskin Picks!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Thursday Thoughts

  • The market is forging ahead. Semiconductor don't look that great, though.  I get the feeling they're rolling over.  On the otherhand, as I mentioned tuesday, I think oil and some of the names there look interesting.  More market comments later. 
  • Huh, rain in the valley?  We had our first rain of the fall hit last night.  Ugh, break out the sweaters.  Dig through the closet to find the umbrella.  Be careful of slippery roads.  Watch out for crazy drivers.
  • Democrats need 6 seats to recapture the Senate.  The polls show the Democrats lead in 3 of the 7 vulnerable Republican seats.
  • Democrats need 15 net gain in the House to win back the House.  Because of gerrymandering, only 3 dozen of the races are contested.  Ohio is a key battleground.
  • I watched Lost last night, but I'm not sure where they're going with this story line.  The last few seasons was about the island.  Now it's about these Others.  It'll be interesting to see where they take it.
  • On America's Next Top Model, THANK GOODNESS they got rid of ... who they got rid of.  (No spoiler for DVR folks).  She was lame.
  • Swamped here at the Fun Factory this week   Been tough.  My boss' has been absent, and I've been wearing multiple hats.  Crazy.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Well Doggies!

  • Are the Clampett fortunes taking a hit here with the dip in oil prices?
  • I think energy is looking interesting. While the economy has already slowed some, I don't think it's slowed that much.  Freeways still seem crowded to me.  Consumers are lined up at Starbucks.  So,I am wondering is how much terror and hurricane premiums were in oil?  Also, were prices inflated due to speculation in the oil names?  Hot money coming in and chasing performance.  Just thinking out loud.  Black Box likes energy here, but have to be careful on that one.
  • McNabb's great game last night killed me in my fantasy league.
  • These school shootings are just horrible.  What can we do to keep kids safe from these morons?
  • I never heard of Xango juice before this article.
  • We're getting close to an era where we won't need a DVR (or VCR) to record anything.  Fox signing a deal with MySpace to have shows available on demand.  Some network websites already have shows available on their sites for viewing later. Sometimes without commercials! 

Monday, October 02, 2006

The Falls Bar

* I'm at the bar at Thunder Valley Casino watching Monday Night Football. Taking a break from losing money to the tribe...

* Yes it was a holiday of sorts. But something feels wrong with the market. The Black Box still on the sell.

* Hoping McNabb doesn't go off here for the fantasy football matchup...

* Work is stressful right now. Start of a new project and trying to get costs lined up and resources set to tasks... blah blah blah. I'd rather spend my days here at the Falls Bar.

* More later...